Ice road truckers: an example of fluid-structure interaction

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The ‘Ice Road Truckers’ series shown on TV around the world over the past few years demonstrates the use of frozen rivers and the sea as roads in the Canadian and Alaskan Arctic during the winter for moving very heavy loads by truck. Obviously if the water is not frozen all the way down to the bed, what controls the stresses and ultimately failure of the ice is of some interest and concern to the truck driver! This is a classical fluid-structure interaction problem. It has features familiar from water wave theory to represent the flow beneath the ice sheet, and bending as for elastic beams and plates for the structural deformation of the ice sheet. The determination of a maximum speed limit for trucks, the critical speed to be avoided, is akin to the determination of an elastic buckling instability. The talk will show how the classical Navier solution for buckling of a rectangular plate can be used to find the critical speed that trucks should not exceed. Simple dimensional analysis reveals what parameters are most important for a truck on an ice sheet on deep water. The analysis also shows why the speed limits for ice sheets on deep and shallow water are so different, and why the critical speed for a truck on ice on shallow water is apparently independent of the properties of the ice.

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Additional Details

Contact Person - Ms Norela Buang

Contact Number - 6516 4314

Organizer - National University of Singapore (NUS) & Oxford University


Date And Time

19 Sep 2012 @ 04:30 PM

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